How to Play Around Unstoppable Rage?
In The Elder Scrolls Legends you always need to be prepared to meet an Unstoppable Rage, whenever you are playing against a midrange- or control-type deck that involves the red Strength attribute. The epic 8 cost action Unstoppable Rage is a very powerful card in the game, as it has a huge effect. To learn how we can play around it, we first need to understand its mechanics and why it is deemed so powerful.
Understanding the Power of Unstoppable Rage
So, for a minute we are assuming to be the player who wants to play Unstoppable Rage and leverage its power. To be played, Unstoppable requires us to have a creature already on the board, so it cannot be played directly from hand to trigger its effect. Due to the relatively high cost it is difficult to be played with a creature in the same turn. Therefore, it is oftentimes set-up by playing a creature to the Shadow Lane, and then playing Rage on top of that creature during the next turn.
The creature it is played upon, then deals damage to all other creatures in its lane. This includes obviously the opponent’s creatures, but also our own. If Unstoppable Rage is played on a regular creature this will only deal the damage. Still powerful, but certainly not game-breaking as some have claimed. So let’s look to add some keywords to these creatures to make Unstoppable Rage a winning card:
Unstoppable Rage on Lethal
When played on a Lethal creature, Unstoppable Rage kills all creatures in its lane without Ward. Awesome lane removal! It even works when the creature has only a small power value for attack. Nice effect, but still not the reason why Unstoppable Rage is so powerful.
Unstoppable Rage on Breakthrough
When Rage is played on a creature with Breakthrough, this creature attacks all creatures on the board and deals damage to all of them (without being damaged itself). The Breakthrough keyword causes any excess damage from this attack to be dealt directly to the opponent. This can (relatively) easily with one single play reduce your opponents life from 30 to 0 with just one single cardplay. Let’s take an example:
- We have Vigilant Giant in play with an attack of 8.
- Our opponent has 4 smaller creatures in the same lane as our Giant. These creatures all have a health of 1.
- Playing Unstoppable Rage on the Giant will cause him to attack each creature, dealing 8 damage to them. Since the have a health of 1, the excess 7 damage will be dealt to your opponent directly, for a total damage of 28 points.
- Vigilant Giant then attacks for 8 damage to your opponent’s face.
Note: Of course, Ward will protect the creatures from the Breakthrough damage.
Below is a few examples of some of the “most dangerous” Breakthrough cards, that usually would be used in combination with Unstoppable Rage – basically anything with 6 power or more:
- Night Shadow: This 6-cost Vampire with 6/5 has Drain and can easily swing around a game.
- Bog Lurcher: This 4-cost rare creature from the core set is a cheap enough creature to allow for a one-turn-kill combo. Be careful of Archer and House Hlaalu decks that run Goblin Skulks to pull out the zero cost Improvised Weapon, which provides the Breakthrough attribute and a buff of +1/+1. You can almost always be certain that your opponent is running three copies of Unstoppable Rage and likely some Bog Lurchers.
- Pure Blood Elder: This vampire gets totally crazy in ramp decks, if not removed immediately.
- Belligerent Giant: A very good card with support removal that can also be used to unsummon a creature.
- Stampede Sentinel: A 7/7 giant with immunity to damage by actions, however, the Sentinel sees little play overall, but could potentially be an attractive combo piece with Unstoppable Rage.
Unstoppable Rage on Slay
When Rage is played on a creature with the Slay keyword, this creature attacks all opponent creatures. If this attack kills the creature, the Slay effect comes into play. Hence, this is a good combo for more powerful slay creatures. The absolute beasts to be aware of in this category are:
- Child of Hircine: This 6/7 Werewolf will earn another attack each time he slays. More details on the combo and a great deck can be found in Combo, Wombo – Bam #4: Slay Pilfer Gutpuncher. Be careful, the Child of Hircine will even get additional attacks from slaying your opponents own creatures.
- Lucien Lachance: He gives a creature that slays +2/+2 each time that creature slays. If Rage is played on a Lethal creature with Lucien in play, this can easily buff that creature by +8/+8, so it’s certainly a winning combo as it clears a lane and buffs a creature considerably.
- Falkreath Difiler: Whenever he slays, he summons a creature from your discard pile. This can be pretty powerful, if you used cards like Indoril Mastermind or Merchant’s Camel to discard some really high-power cards.
- Naryu Virian: Who wouldn’t want to be an assassin, like Naryu? She buffs your creatures with Slay: +1/+1 and Lethal. Thus, she makes for a mini-Lucien Lachance but for non-lethal creatures. This combo can certainly help turnaround a game…
- Night Talon Lord: His slay attribute summons the slain creature. Oooph. Need we say more?
Unstoppable Rage on Breakthrough and Pilfer
When playing Unstoppable Rage on a creature with Breakthrough and Pilfer, and the creature is strong enough to breakthrough with excess damage, this will cause the Pilfer effect to be pulled off. As there is currently no creature with Breakthrough and Pilfer, the Breakthrough effect needs to be put onto a creature with Pilfer, or Thieves’ Den can be used on a creature with Breakthrough to get more buffs. Playing Rage on a creature with Breakthrough and Pilfer might get us a one-turn-kill (OTK) with a slightly smaller Pilfer creature. This might be a bit less obvious than Vigilant Giant and/ or Bog Lurcher, where you can almost smell a rage coming up.
You need to be highly aware of a few Pilfer creatures, even more so, if these are equipped with Breakthrough (main reason is the power increase of the pilfer effect):
- Baandari Bruiser: This 3/2 Khajiit has a Pilfer effect of +3/+0, so each Pilfer will turn him into a bigger beast.
- Elsweyr Lookout: This 1/1 Khajiit doubles his power whenever he pilfers. In a House Hlaalu deck, this could be pretty scary, assuming one could get her big enough to actually breakthrough. With a Master of Thieves on board, the game can be over sooner than one might think. It’s certainly not an easy combination to be pulled off, but certainly a cool one.
- Quin’rawl Burglar: This 4/4 legendary Khajiit from the Core Set gets buffed with +4/+4 when he pilfers. So he is really a major card to watch for, when your opponent plays Archer or House Hlaalu.
- Sails-Through-Storms: This 6-cost 5/5 Argonian (from the Return to Clockwork City story expansion), summons the top creature of the deck. Clearly, this can be like a mini-“Tullius’ Conscription” only with higher cost cards. The 5/5 attribute, if breakthrough is added by an item, makes it pretty likely that a few additional creatures will be summoned by this. So be careful if you see Sails-Through-Storms in Archer or Hlaalu decks.
Summary – The Power of Unstoppable Rage
To summarize: for Unstoppable Rage to work, your opponent wants:
- 8 magicka or more
- A high-power creature with the keywords Breakthrough, Slay or Lethal or a combination of those on his side of the board.
- At least one, ideally four (smaller) creatures on your side of the board to get the raged creature to attack multiple times.
Unstoppable Rage is usually played on a creature in the Shadow Lane due to it’s high cost. The support card Hidden Trail makes Rage viable also in the Field Lane, of course. The 4-cost Bog Lurcher, equipped with an Improvised Weapon, allows your opponent to play a one-turn kill combo with 12 magicka.
Before we move to learn how to play around Unstoppable Rage, let’s look at a few YouTube videos from other content creators that showcase the power of Unstoppable Rage. It’s best to see how players are setting up the board for this card.
How to Play Around Unstoppable Rage?
Now, that we understand the main threats from Unstoppable Rage, let’s look at how to play around them.
Don’t have Creatures on the Board
Unstoppable Rage will only work if you have creatures on board. Arguably, you will likely need a few creatures at some point to win the game, but not in all decks would you need a big number of them on the board at the same time. Obviously, aggro decks will put an army of creatures out, but there are certainly many control decks that are designed to remove all creatures of your opponent and even steal them from your opponent to win. Just think about stealing the Child of Hircine your opponent just played…
Play Both Lanes
Unstoppable Rage works best for your opponent if you allow him to play it on a creature that’s opposing many of your own creatures in the same lane. Thus, you should try to distribute your creatures between the Field and the Shadow Lane (equally) as this helps to reduce the effectiveness of Unstoppable Rage. This strategy is not always an easy one, while you are trying to keep control over the field lane, but be careful not to be forced into the Shadow Lane, e.g. by your opponent’s Lethal creature in the Field Lane. As an aggro deck, it might sometimes be better to oppose that Lethal threat, instead of pushing too much damage through the Shadow Lane.
Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices – in the Shadow Lane
If you are playing a token deck and have just filled a lane with four of your tokens and your opponent plays Child of Hircine on his turn 7, you would certainly wish to be able to just kill-off all your tokens, if you cannot win the game on the very same turn. Usually, your deck will run some cards that allow you to Silence another creature (e.g. Shadowfen Priest. Now is your time to play it. A sometimes overlooked option is to give your opponent’s creature in the shadow lane the Guard attribute. This will pull it out of the Shadows and make it attackable. Some options to consider when building your deck when you are facing Unstoppable Rage decks often:
- Stand Watch: A 2-cost action from the Houses of Morrowind expanstion that gives a creature guard and draws you a card (maybe another charge creature, to fully destroy Child of Hircine).
- Barded Guar: This common 3-cost Reptile has stats of 3/3 and gives a creature Guard.
Manipulate Magicka or Magicka Cost
By manipulating your opponent’s magicka or the magicka cost of cards, you can put off your opponent from playing Rage for one or multiple turns. Your friends here are:
- Garnag, Dark Adherent: provides a strong optoin to limit your opponent’s magicka to 7. Unstoppable Rage isn’t playable while he is in play, so take extra precaution to protect him from removal, at least while you have a full (Shadow) Lane.
- Withered Hand Cultist increases the cost of all actions by 2. This protects you at least until turn 10 and makes the Bog Lurcher / Rage combo impossible to play in just one turn.
- Wrath of Sithis buys you until turn 9 if you play him properly. This is a little, but certainly not the most effective protection against Unstoppable Rage.
Keep Hard Removal in Hand for the Big Guy
Unless your opponent plays the creature and Unstoppable Rage on the very same turn you always have an option to remove that big threat with Breakthrough, Slay or Drain. Your deck should run some hard removal options (such as Piercing Javelin or Dawn’s Wrath), and in a Rage-heavy meta you would certainly want to keep one of them in hand to defend against Unstoppable Rage.
You hopefullly find these tips useful to be playing more successfully against decks running Unstoppable Rage. If you have additional ideas or questions, and want to share your experiences with Unstoppable Rage, please leave a comment below.